Ex-Blast announcer admits sex act with girl, 16

Baltimore & Region

November 16, 2005|By LAURA CADIZ | LAURA CADIZ,SUN REPORTER

Former Baltimore Blast soccer team announcer Art Sinclair told a Howard County judge yesterday that, five years ago, he got sucked into the computer culture, which slowly destroyed his judgment and good sense.

Yesterday, in what he called "the culmination of extremely poor judgment," Sinclair admitted engaging in a sexual act last year in an Ellicott City parking lot with a 16-year-old girl whom police say he met over the Internet.

Circuit Judge Louis A. Becker sentenced Sinclair, whose real name is Arthur J. Lapenotiere, to 10 years in prison, with all but 70 days suspended, after he pleaded guilty to the charge of unnatural or perverted sexual practices.

Becker ordered the sentence to be divided between 15 days in jail - to be served during weekends - and 55 days of home detention. Sinclair, 60, of the 1000 block of Uniontown Road in Westminster, is scheduled begin serving his time Jan. 6.

He also must undergo sexual offender treatment or counseling, but he does not have to register as a sex offender, according to Senior Assistant State's Attorney Mary Murphy.

Before he was sentenced, Sinclair told the judge that he was "deeply embarrassed" and that he apologized to the girl.

"I hope she'll be able to have a productive life, despite this incident," he said.

After Sinclair was sentenced, the mother of the girl cried out in the courtroom: "That's not time! I'm not satisfied with that. He deserves more time!"

The Sun is not identifying the girl because she is the victim of a sexual offense.

According to the statement of facts read by Murphy, Sinclair met the girl by communicating with her over the Internet and then picked her up from a Baltimore County high school Nov. 29.

"The defendant went [to the high school] to consummate the encounter," Murphy said. "Certainly, at that point, bells should have been going off in the defendant's head."

Sinclair then drove to a hotel on Baltimore National Pike but could not find an available room. He then drove to the Normandy Shopping Center parking lot on U.S. 40, where the girl performed a sex act on him, Murphy said.

Sinclair's lawyer, David Irwin, said his client has been fired as the announcer for the indoor soccer team, a position he held for 25 years. Irwin said Sinclair is now trying to "redeem himself from stupidity."

"It was certainly inappropriate, it was certainly stupid," Irwin said. "It was reckless and harmful to someone else. And, he gets it."

laura.cadiz@baltsun.com

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